Fifteen Minute Magic: “Spin Doctors” or PR Practitioners
Evaluating Public Relations from Contrasting Perspectives
What is PR?
Public Relations students and professionals alike may describe PR in its most skeletal form as a liaison between an organization or company and its stakeholders.
University of North Texas Journalism professor Samra Bufkins describes public relations as a profession capable of “filling in” where advertising can not (Jour 4470, 9/1/2010). Answers.com defines public relations as the “The art or science of establishing and promoting a favorable relationship with the public.” These definitions encompass a more favorable view of PR through the objective lens of a dictionary source and the subjective lens of one educated in the profession. While this may be true, many people feel differently about the profession and its role.
True or False?
1. Only celebrities and bad politicians use and/or need public relations.
False. All people use PR. Individuals, organizations, politicians and celebrities have a responsibility to monitor how the public perceives them. Good and bad PR affects all groups. Harmful publicity taints reputations and could affect an individual’s social relationships and career goals.
Organizations and public figures use PR to prevent events that cause harmful publicity, monitor public opinion and facilitate transparent action in damaging situations. An essay from Time magazine characterizes PR as an ancient tradition.
“In one sense, PR is an old and simple human and political instinct. A warrior king leading an army, a cardinal campaigning for the papacy, a politician running for election, a merchant preparing a deal, a woman looking for a husband—all are involved in public relations.”
-The Arts and Uses of Public Relations, July 7, 1967
2. The primary task of PR professionals is to hide bad publicity about their client and/or organization from the public.
False. Ethical PR practices prohibit such actions.The Public Relations Society of America’s Statement of Professional Values specifically notes honesty as a core value.
“We (members) adhere to the highest standards of accuracy and truth in advancing the interests of those we represent and in communicating with the public (PRSA Code of Ethics, Preamble).”
Organizations and public figures use ethical PR to prevent events that cause harmful publicity, monitor public opinion and facilitate transparent action in damaging situations.
What’s the Purpose?
Public relations is one of the most popular yet misunderstood professions of the 21st century. The responsibility to educate the public and gain credibility and respect for the profession rests upon PR professionals, educators and students. The goal of this blog is to dispel common myths and encourage readers to acquire more knowledge about PR.
Title inspired by: Where’s My Fifteen Minutes by Howard Bragman
By: Angel Bell